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The No. 15 UCSB women’s water polo team entered the weekend disappointed about a home loss to No. 9 Hawaii the prior week and failed to redeem itself after falling to UC Irvine in a 6-3 loss on Saturday. On Sunday, the Gauchos went on to lose on the road to Cal State Long Beach by a score of 9-5.
With the pair of losses, UCSB drops to 10-14 overall and 1-3 in the Big West with just one more regular season match remaining. Irvine won both of its games over the weekend, including an 11-5 win over Cal State Northridge to take sole possession of first place in the Big West at 20-7 overall and 4-0 in the conference. Long Beach split its two games by losing to Northridge and defeating the Gauchos and is now 18-9 overall and 2-2 in the Big West.
“At this point our confidence level is pretty high,” sophomore utility Jessie Porter said. “We know we can play with any of the other teams in Big West and give them a good game.”
In Saturday’s game against the Anteaters, the Gauchos fell behind early due to a lack of offensive flow.
“We needed to improve on our shots,” junior utility Lauren Martin said. “We didn’t score at all until the second half, but we were able to close the gap to just three goals. Next time we need to make our goals from the start so we don’t get behind.”
UCSB was finally able to break the seal on the goal in the fourth quarter when freshman attacker Taylor Shore put in a goal, but the 5-0 deficit through three periods was too big a deficit to come back from.
Freshman and sophomore attackers Carly Christian and Bryn Hudson also added goals in the final period, but the Gauchos fell short by a final of 6-3.
Getting the start at goalkeeper for UCSB was freshman Nikki Quinn, who put together a good effort with six saves as she and the rest of the defense held the Anteaters well under their season scoring average.
“We actually did play well today,” Martin said. “During the first half we were communicating pretty well on defense. We drew a lot of ejections and we were working well as a team, but the shots that we took were not going in. Our offense in our 6-on-5 needs to improve because we made all three goals from a man up.”
In their road match against Long Beach State on Sunday, the Gauchos came out with a little more offensive firepower, scoring two goals in the first half. However, the 49ers took a 4-2 lead into halftime thanks to a dominant performance by senior defender Coriann Snyder, who ended the game with a hat trick.
“Today I felt our defense was our strong point even though the score didn’t show that,” Porter said. “What could have been better was our communication on both ends of the pool.”
The third period saw the least amount of defense from both teams as Long Beach senior attacker Chelsea Parks put in a pair of goals to match UCSB’s two third quarter goals. Trailing 8-4 heading into the final frame, the Gauchos ran out of time on their way to a 9-5 loss.
Sophomore utility Samantha Murphy led UCSB with two goals against the 49ers.
With just one game remaining in the regular season against No. 7 Cal State Northridge, the Gauchos aren’t worried about a 1-3 record in Big West games at this point.
“We are confident that we will do well,” Martin said. “Everyone for the most part is pretty even. Going into conference we need to have the mindset that we have nothing to lose and we definitely have the potential to win.”
UCSB returns home for its final match of the regular season against Northridge at 4 p.m. on Friday in Campus Pool.
This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Cameryn Brock of the Daily Nexus.